18 - 48 Months+

How eye contact affects your baby’s brain development

Baby laying on its back looking straight up

Eye contact and non-verbal communication through smiles and cuddles seem to be a crucial part of a baby’s development. There’s nothing else like it.

So stare deeply into your little one’s eyes and give them all the snuggles. A new study from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society showed that babies’ brains literally sync with their parents’ when they are learning about their social environment. The better the neural synchrony, the quicker a child learns.

Man holding and looking at a baby with a swaddle over his shoulder

The researchers found that social signals like eye contact and smiling were associated with increased synchrony and improved social learning!⁣⁣

“When we connect neurally with others, we are opening ourselves to receiving information and influence from others… There is no substitute for being physically present and in the moment to connect with an infant.” – Victoria Leong from University of Cambridge. ⁣

Eye contact also plays a crucial role in developing emotional connections, this applies to children of all ages. Gazing into your little one’s eyes strengthens your bond. But it’s not just looking at a face that syncs brainwaves, it’s sharing the intention to communicate that encourages the sync.⁣⁣⁣

⁣Eye contact shows your child that you are really and truly listening.

We know it sounds so simple to make an effort to have at least ONE eye-to-eye conversation each day. But as your day fills up with daily routines/tasks, household chores, meetings, activities, and errands, it’s actually harder than you think. This is especially true with the regular use of technology and our constant need to multitask. (It’s been found that the average mobile user checks their phone 150 times a day, which greatly reduces eye contact during conversations.⁣)⁣⁣

Take time each day to take a break from everything you have to juggle in life, and just connect. Your baby, toddler, school-aged kid, or teenager all crave that connection! ⁣❤️⁣⁣


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Posted in: 18 - 48 Months+, Communication, Social Emotional, Child Development

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